The Presbyterian Church of Queensland on gay marriage

For the last 18 months or so my friend and co-worker Dave Bailey and I have been on the ethics and communications committee for the Presbyterian Church of Queensland. This committee is now called the Gospel in Society Today committee. Because everybody likes an acronym if you get my gist…

Our committee recently drafted this letter to Julia Gillard, CCd to Tony Abbott, on the issue of Gay Marriage. I think it’s fantastic. For obvious reasons. I wasn’t sure if I could post this – but Dave has on his blog – so it must be ok…


The thinking and wording in this letter reflects a changing emphasis that will go into a redrafted position paper on homosexuality and gay marriage at some stage in the near future.

I think one of the slight weaknesses of this letter is that it is potentially legislatively short sighted. I’ve said before here, and elsewhere, that we might need to shift the goal posts a little, by explicitly, rather than implicitly, arguing for our right to continue “discriminating” within the boundaries of the church when it comes to how we choose to define marriage, and the marriages we choose to celebrate, or officiate over.

What do you think?


Chris Ashton says:

I agree with your comment on the lack of explicit argument for a right to discriminate. There is a lack of integrity about not being so explicit and I think the same applies to comments like, “we are not seeking to…limit the freedoms of the GLBTI community.” Actually, whatever else you are or are not doing, you are seeking to limit a specify freedom.

I wonder if there should also be, not just a cc of this letter to Tony Abbott, but a letter expressing similar gratitude for his position in not allowing a conscience vote?

Bruce says:

Chris: the main point of the post is
“arguing for our right to continue “discriminating” within the boundaries of the church when it comes to how we choose to define marriage, and the marriages we choose to celebrate, or officiate over.”

Religious liberty. The state not prosecuting or persecuting a church for refusing to do something that would offend against their conscience. We live in a secular democracy. Just because christians prefer something doesn’t mean it’ll happen. We can live with that. However, we are free to voice our preferences just like everyone else is.

This isn’t discriminating outside of the walls of the church. It is only how the church operates and what it does.

Chris Ashton says:


I’m not really sure that I understand the burden of your comment. As a Christian, I certainly don’t have any objection to Christians voicing “our preferences just like anyone else.”

Are you disagreeing with something I have said? Your comment doesn’t make it clear.

Bruce says:

My question is: what do we call traditional marriage once the meaning gets hijacked and redefined out of all shape? We need a new word so what is currently called marriage is not conflated with what the thought police would call it.

garth says:

So it is ok to discriminate against the gays etc. Bit not against straight Christians? I got married outside the church because I felt it hypocritial as I had already slept with my soon to be wife. I know plenty of people that get married and want to get married in the church and laugh off the fact that they slept with there partners before being married. This seems to be quite accepted at church when I go to these weddings but you can’t accept that two people may love each other so much, perhaps even believe and follow the lord and want to get married and commit to each other in the eyes of thelord. And as far as giving anything but the true religious meaning of marriageanother name then I feel very few people would be married.